Humans have had an admiration for beautiful gold objects for at least 8,000 years, according to archaeologists who excavated sites across the world where these glittering artefacts have been discovered.
Finding any metal—much less precious gold—in archaeological sites is very rare, since metal objects were frequently melted down and recycled when they no longer served their purpose. This makes the discovery of large gold collections from the ancient world even more remarkable.
Lead Image: Howard Carter's 1922 discovery of the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen counts among the most important in archaeological history. Among the magnificent artefacts is this 3,300-year old falcon pendant of the god Re-Horakhti, made of gold, carnelian, chalcedony, and coloured glass paste. PHOTOGRAPH BY KENNETH GARRETT, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE